Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.
— Luke 23:50-56 NLT
What do you do when all seems lost and life makes no sense? Joseph, Nicodemus, and the women are our examples to follow in the worst moments of horror in our lives (John 19:38-42; Mark 16:1-2). They did the decent, kind, and generous thing — they honored Jesus in his death with a proper and honorable burial. They provided the burial for Jesus even though personal cost and great danger were involved. On the day when many in the world exchange gifts remembering Jesus' birth, we are near the end of our year's journey through Luke's Gospel. So, we see two men give Jesus a kind and gracious gift at his death. They also honored the will of God even though all seemed lost — they honored the Sabbath as required by the law. We will all face times of desperation and trial. Let's remember the examples of Joseph, Nicodemus, and the women. Often these kind and gracious actions, infused with the help of God's Spirit, are what we most need to get us through the time of horror and to prepare us for the joy that is on the horizon. Let's also remember that, even though it may seem strange to be thinking about Jesus' death and burial on a day for celebrating his birth in many parts of the world, this sacrificial death was, in fact, a chief reason for Jesus' incarnation.
Holy and tender Father, please give me the courage not to give up my faith in the difficult times I will face in my life. Give me the faith to live with honor and decency even though no one else seems to value these qualities. And, dear Father, help me have the discipline and the will to honor you in simple obedience. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 12:46-50
- Luke 8:1-3
- 1 Samuel 15:22
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Wednesday, December 25, 2019
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.